Sister competition and birth order effects among marriage-aged girls: Evidence from a field experiment in rural Bangladesh
By Stephanie Zhong
Early marriage before the age of 18 is prevalent among adolescent girls in Bangladesh, but the timing of marriage is not uniform across daughters within a household, with some sisters marrying earlier than others. Using survey data from a novel field experiment from rural Bangladesh, I find that girls ages 10-21 with lower birth order tend to be married at a younger age, even when controlling for confounding nature of household size on birth order. Additionally, girls with younger sisters are more likely to be married and at a younger age than girls with younger brothers. The findings on dowry are inclusive.
Advisors: Dr. Erica Field and Dr. Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D13, J13, O15
By Maya Durvasula
Household resource allocation in response to economic shocks is of central importance for policy makers, especially given widely documented evidence of gender biases. In this paper, I exploit a
plausibly exogenous shock to maternal asset holdings in Indonesia to examine gender biases in resource allocation in the wake of the 1998 East Asian Financial Crisis. Using insights from
anthropology, I separate assets in the hands of women from those controlled by men and interpret findings in the context of a household decision-making framework that allows preferences of parents to differ. Taking household-specific heterogeneity into account with fixed effects, I find significant evidence of efforts to shield male children from the effects of the crisis in both contemporaneous educational attainment and longer-term labor market outcomes, a remarkable trend given minimal evidence of a pro-son bias in Indonesia prior to the crisis. Finally, inferring preferences from maternal resource allocation, I find suggestive evidence of an old age security motive in women’s investment decisions.
Advisor: Duncan Thomas | JEL Codes: D13, I0, J13, J16
By Samantha Cox
While there are countless studies concerning the effects of various variables on female labor force participation, there are still many unexamined intricacies involved in a woman’s choice to enter, re-enter or leave the work force. This paper attempts to extend on previous research and examine how the flexibility of a woman’s job influences her return to work after the birth of her first child. The findings support the results found in previous models which find a relationship between family size, hourly wage rate, other household income and age at first birth. The results further sought to address the elusive concept of culture’s effect on a woman’s labor decisions by using the woman’s religiosity. Most intrical to this research is the creation of two flexibility indices, one regarding occupation choice and one regarding industry choice, and the varying effect of these variables as well as the aforementioned explanatory variables over time. Using hazard analysis, a positive, significant relationship was established between the flexibility indices and the dependent variable when the influence of time was held constant. Also found was a positive relationship linking the likelihood of a woman returning to work after the birth of her first child, considering she has not already done so, with the interaction of the flexibility indices over time. Only the term interacting with the industry index was found to be significant.
Advisor: Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: D1, J13, J24 | Tagged:
The Nurture Effect: Like Father, Like Son. What about for an Adopted Child? A Study of Korean-American Adoptees on the Impact of Family Environment and Genes
By Suanna Seung-yun Oh
I investigate the influences of family environment and genes on children’s educational outcomes by working with data on Korean American adoptees and their non-adoptive siblings. I make use of the natural experiment setting where children were quasi-randomly assigned to families. From Sacerdote’s discussion of the three different approaches of analyzing the data, I derive a single-equation model that encompasses the three approaches as a few of its specific cases. The first part of my analysis identifies the causal effect of being assigned to a certain family environment. The second part of my analysis looks into causes of the differences between the educational attainment of adoptees and biological children, adding to the economists’ discussion on the relative importance of nature and nurture.
Advisor: Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: J, J12,J13, J24 | Tagged: